TUESDAY, JUNE 15, 1999
Briefer: JAMES P. RUBIN
No US Forces Deployed/Update on Air and Ground Attacks in Kashmir/US Strongly Supports Talks
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
DPB # 76
TUESDAY, JUNE 15, 1999 12:35 P.M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
QUESTION: No - could I ask you about the Indian-Pakistani problem?
MR. RUBIN: You mean speaking of the Indian-Pakistani problem.
QUESTION: Yes, speaking of which, is the United States trying to become involved in the diplomatic exchanges?
MR. RUBIN: We have taken the view if both sides want us to play a role we would want to be helpful. But we are not - haven't - that's been our long-standing position, and that hasn't changed.
Indian forces to make slow progress in ground attacks near Kargil against infiltrators from Pakistan. We have seen press reports that Pakistan has accused India of using chemical weapons in fighting. We have no evidence to support this assertion. We were encouraged that the Indian and Pakistani prime ministers continued their direct discussions of the fighting by telephone on Sunday, following up on the meeting of their foreign ministers on Saturday. In our view, neither party has an interest in seeing this crisis escalate.
At the same time, we were disappointed that India and Pakistan have been unable to make more progress towards a resolution of this crisis. We therefore have encouraged continued efforts by the two parties to work together to reach a peaceful settlement soon. The United States remains in contact with the Indian and Pakistani Governments to express our strong concern and urge them to show restraint and respect the line of control that they agreed to 27 years ago as part of the Simla agreement. During his phone conversation yesterday with Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee, the President conveyed this message.
QUESTION: Just to follow up on this question, the seriousness of the issue of Kashmir - from the Indian standpoint, do you have any knowledge how Indians are reacting in resulting with their own Kashmir in their own borderline? Do you have any information to that? Is there any move in resolving those tensions that led to all this crisis?
MR. RUBIN: We have been focused on the escalation that began when the fighting began. We are trying to see it de-escalate and urging restraint on both parties. Beyond saying that, I would have to check to see what steps we would urge in that other respect.
(The briefing concluded at 1:20 P.M.)
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